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Rockabilly - Page 2

Kyle Eldridge

Kyle Eldridge – Spooky Moon

Swelltune Records – SR45-010 [2022]
Spooky Moon / Star Struck

Kyle Eldridge

Excellent double-sider from the Wizard of the Strings: Kyle Eldridge.
Spooky Moon, a superb mid-tempo country tune with a fiddle, perfectly suits Eldridge’s nasal tone, akin to Gene O’Quin. The flip, Star Struck, is an instrumental tune in the Joe Maphis tradition: virtuosity, energy, tuneful skill and dexterity, and precision, served by a clean and crisp guitar sound.
Stunning! It’s incredible the amount of talent you can put in such a tiny piece of vinyl.

Buy it here or here.

The Hicksville Bombers

The Hicksville Bombers – What Kinda Fool

Raucous Records – Rauc 022 [1995]
What Kinda Fool / Bopper and Shakers – Get Outta My House

Hicksville bombers

The Hicksville Bombers are Dave Brown on vocals and guitar, Pete “Geordie” O’Brien on double bass and vocals, and Bryn Jones on drums and vocals. The trio formed in Lincoln, England, in 1992. They recorded this EP with Chris Cummings (Riverside Trio) at his Riverside Studios.
What Kinda Fool is a superb blues-bopper that maintains the tension throughout the song. It benefits from an excellent guitar work from Brown, mixing bopping blues with Rockabilly influences. Bopper and Shakers is a menacing Blues tune akin to On The Road Again. The boys keep it simple with powerful and effective riffs and pounding – almost tribal – drums. Get Outta My House is more on the hillbilly side of things, with the slap bass to the fore and boom-chicka-boom guitar ala Luther Perkins.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

hicksville bombers

Polecats (the)

The Polecats – Live’n’Rockin’

Link Records – LINKMLP 069 [1988]
Pink & Black – Blue Jean Bop – Rockabilly boogie – Hip hip baby – We Say Yeah – Runnin Back – Miss Bobby Sox

Polecats - live'n'rockin

It’s a way too short live album from the Polecats. One can wonder why Link didn’t release a whole show, considering the band probably had one in its archive. The sound is good without being overwhelming; the double bass, in particular, lacks a little depth, and the drums are not too present in the mix. That said, it is very well-played and very catchy too. The group overflows with youth’s exuberance, allowing certain vocal approximations to pass (for example, We Say Yeah). The group also knows how to be wild on certain songs, notably their cover of Rock-Billy Boogie by Johnny Burnette. All the songs are covers (Benny Joy, Gene Vincent, Dennis Herrold, Sonny Fisher, Cliff Richard & the Shadows) except for Runnin’ Back, which was composed by Boz Boorer and comes from Polecats Are Go.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Catfish Trio (the)

The Catfish Trio – Money Makes the World Go Round

Cat Noise 76.13079 [1986]
Money Makes the World Go Round / Nervous Boy

The Catfish Trio - Money Makes the World Go Round

The Catfish Trio formed around 1984 in Augsburg, Germany. Igor Velican (guitar and vocal) teamed with Geza Varga (double bass) and drummer Klaus Miehlich to form a Rockabilly band. Igor Velican previously played in the Rockin’ Rebels and X-Raycats

In March 1985, Miehlich left the band to be replaced by Franz Rieth (drums). The following year, the trio released its debut single. On the A-side, there’s a perfect Neo-rockabilly tune, highly melodic, in the style of Restless, with powerful slap bass and excellent guitar work, but the B-side is even better. Nervous Boy has a jazzy flair (the melody reminds me of Sweet Georgia Brown) that the band has the good idea to mix with a slight hillbilly touch. Excellent!

Fred ”Virgil” Turgis

Rocco and the Rays

Rocco and the Rays – Palmdale Sun

RR 69 [1987]
I Get Excited – The Cat Blues / Wild Train – The Rider

Rocco and the Rays

In December 1984, Rocco (ex-Rocco et ses Frères, named after Visconti’s film) joined forces with Johnny Delco and Bruno (ex-Stalin Girl) to form the Jivaros. Playing wild Rockabilly, the group kept that line-up for a while. Finally, in September 1985, the trio was joined by Claudio, the Rocco et ses Frères drummer, and the group became Rocco and the Rays.
In 1986, the group recorded their first album, a four-track under the leadership of Marc Police (Wampas, Pasadenas) and Alain Wampas (Wampas, Los Carayos, Happy Drivers).
The result, although frustrating by its shortness, is no less dazzling. The four songs skillfully mix influences and, in just four tracks, build the band’s legend. The group introduces Morriconian influences into its Rockabilly, bordering on classicism, to better distance itself from it the next minute. From I Get Excited, a snappin’ Rockabilly all in contained savagery, to the hillbilly of the title track, there is absolutely nothing to throw away on this mini-album. The production perfectly highlights Rocco’s superb voice, who knows how to be captivating and, the next moment, switch to the wild or a torrid style akin to Gene Vincent.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Son Demon and his Holy Boys

Son Demon & his Holy Boys – Boptized

Bluelight Records BLR 33236 2 [2023]
Guitar Rock – It Would Be A Doggone Lie – Keepin’ All My Lovin’ – Alabama Jailhouse – Old Moss Back – Darlene – False Hearted Girl – Did You Tell Me (You Don’t Care) – Done Told You – Home In My Hand – Laughin’ and Jokin’ – Ahead On – Don’t Mean Maybe Baby

son demon & his holy boys

After their EP, released in 2022, this drummer-less Finnish trio returns with an entire album of thirteen new recordings. The pleasure I had while listening to this album made me think I had been a little too harsh with their previous release. Sure, like the EP, this album contains only cover versions, but when I usually complain about the Rockabilly albums that are too often too long, here, the length works to the band’s advantage. Throughout the 13 tunes, the trio has more room to develop its sound and personality, and one can hear all the subtleties of the musicianship. And finally, the style of the band takes over the cover. Of course, I like bands who write their own songs and make their contribution to the long story of Rockabilly. But remember bands like Ray Condo or the Planet Rockers. Both were playing only covers, and no one would argue about their lack of personality. This is the same here; you hear the band first and then recognise songs you already know. A superb production and recording job, with a raw, almost primitive sound, contributes to the success of this excellent album.Don’t hesitate, get boptized!

Son Demon and his Holy Boys

Bluelight Records BLR 45176 7
When My Baby Passes By – Blues Stop Knockin’ / Too Hot To Handle – Wait for Me Virginia

Son Demon and his Holy Boys

Son Demon and his Holy Boys is a Finnish group formed in late 2021 by Vellu Lehtonen (Son Demon) on vocals and guitar, Iikku Riepponen on double bass and Viiljami Kujansivu on guitar. Riepponen is also known for playing double bass with Mike Bell & the Belltones.

It’s a traditional Rockabilly trio with an authentic, almost primitive sound. The band is good, the singer has a good voice and sings well, the guitarist does a good job and the rhythm is solid. All the ingredients are there to make this record a good Rockabilly record. It just lacks a hint of originality. The group does not have, for the moment hopefully, that little extra that can differentiate it from the others. Moreover, the fact that this EP only includes covers (Glen Bland, Al Ferrier, Vince Anthony and Ben Wasson) does not really allow us to judge the band at its fair value. A group to follow, hoping to find them over a longer distance with their own songs.

Also available on CD.

Fred ”Virgil” Turgis